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Colleges debate requiring the Covid-19 vaccine for fall semester

By Hailey Ruane
Staff Writer

With Covid-19 vaccinations being distributed across the U.S. at a faster pace, many colleges and universities have to make a decision on whether or not they will make this vaccine one of the many already required to return to campus. As more people are vaccinated, the question of mandating it as a rule for students has been debated. 

Some colleges, such as Rutgers University, have begun to announce their requirements for Covid-19 vaccinations in the upcoming semester, prompting debates amongst academic communities (Envato Elements).

According to the CDC, 38.5% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 24.3% have been fully vaccinated, with that number not counting the next phase, which includes everyone 16 years of age and older being eligible as of April 19.

Rutgers University was one of the first schools to announce that they are requiring students to be vaccinated for the upcoming fall semester in order to participate in in-person classes and on-campus events. 

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway stated, “We are committed to health and safety for all members of our community, and adding Covid-19 vaccination to our student immunization requirements will help provide a safer and more robust college experience for our students,” as reported by Rutgers Today.

The majority of people have welcomed this announcement, as it will possibly spark a beginning to an end of over a year of students feeling isolated from their peers. New Jersey state colleges have shown in the past patterns of following Rutgers’ plans, so more state schools have been announcing their requirement of the Covid vaccine. Fairleigh Dickinson University has also announced the vaccination to be required in hopes of establishing herd immunity within the community and returning to pre-pandemic life, according to MSN.

There are still a few state schools that remain undecided towards the vaccine, including The College. President Kathryn Foster announced in an April 5 email that while the College is not mandating vaccines as of now, there is still much that is likely to change. She is strongly encouraging students to receive the vaccination.

While most people have taken requiring vaccinations for Covid in colleges as a positive sign, some have been hesitant to go through the steps to legally mandate it for workers and students. Based on concerns of accessibility and vaccine hesitancy, there have been groups of people who are against the idea of mandatory vaccination, and some legislators are in support of them. 

According to PEW, Senator Dennis Kruse (R-Ind.) sponsored a bill that prevented the legalization of the vaccines and felt that, “I just kind of like the idea of personal freedom, and that’s one of my biggest things as a legislator.”

While some individuals feel as though individual freedoms are being violated by mandating vaccinations for colleges, this mandate would be legal, according to CBS. Overall, the well-being of college students across campuses is the main concern.

A spokesperson of Ramapo College announced, according to NJ.com, “We continue to provide our community members with information on how to secure the vaccine. We look forward to a fall semester on-campus that is safe, welcoming, and healthy.”

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